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Why Do Dogs Have a Favorite Person?

Dogs favorite person

Does your dog have a favorite person?

Lots of dogs have a favorite person. Usually, they make it really obvious who their favorite human is. It’s the person they’re always running to first, always following around.

Sometimes it creates problems in the pet owners home when the dog really favors one over the other. It can make the less favored human wonder “What did I do? Why don’t they love me that much?”

So, why do dogs have a favorite person?

All dogs are different, but there are some common reasons why a dog may favor one human over another. 

The person there for the socialization period

Dogs have an important socialization period between birth and six months.  This is the age where puppies’ brains are developing. Their brains are very receptive and the social experiences the dog has during this time can influence them for the rest of their lives. 

The person who is there during this period, who has more positive experiences with the dog at this period, can become the favored human. Sometimes, any person who resembles the human who was there during the socialization period can become favored.

As a side note, this is why it is important for dogs to be socialized to many different types of people during this period. It will help them be comfortable with more people later on.

Attention

Unsurprisingly, most dogs tend to bond with the person who gives them the most attention. They may also prefer the person who feeds them frequently. Dogs also will usually fall in love with the person who gives them the most physical attention and love. Lots of petting, brushing, massaging can cause a dog to love that person the most. Sometimes they will love the person who plays with them the most. Again, all dogs are different.

Related: Foods that are dangerous for dogs

Positive association

Closely related to above, dogs can choose their favorites based on positive associations. The human the dog associates good, positive, warm feelings with will be the favorite. This might be the person who always has the treats, always plays games with and other reasons.

Human and dog personality

Much like people, dogs are attracted to people who have a similar personality to them. A dog who loves to play and roughhouse will be attracted to the person who feels the same way. A dog who likes predictable, quiet time on the couch, will find the person who enjoys the same things. 

Related: Tips for leaving your dog on vacation

You can still become your dogs favorite

Just because you’re not your dog’s favorite doesn’t mean that you can’t do things to increase the bond between the two of you. 

How to be your dog’s favorite

  • Spend lots of time with them during their first six months
  • Spend more one on one time together every day
  • Play your dog’s favorite games with them
  • Do dog training or skills training together
  • Take your dog for more walks
  • Be the one to give your dog treats
  • If your dog enjoys grooming then groom them frequently
  • Avoid being associated with the things your dog hates
  • Create positive associations with you and the dog’s favorite things

 

The Pet’s Home provides in-home pet sitting services, as well as pet sitting, dog sitting, cat sitting, puppy training and pet taxi services in the Plainfield, Oswego, Naperville and Shorewood area. 

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841


Image source: Pexels


Why Do Dogs Lick?

There are many different reasons that your dog will lick you, both environmental and biological. Dogs lick their owners, pack members and themselves for many reasons, and if you want to change the behavior, it helps to understand why they do it.

Reasons dogs lick

  • Affection
  • Grooming
  • Communication
  • Attention Seeking
  • Behavior issue
  • Medical issue
  • To show submission
  • Humans can taste good
  • They are rewarded for it

Affection

Most people assume their dog licks them because the dog loves them. And much of the time, they are right. Your dog licks you because they love you and the dog themselves will experience pleasure as well. Licking for affection causes your dog to release pleasurable endorphins that calm and comfort them.

Grooming

Most people think of cats as cleaning when they lick themselves but dogs often lick to clean themselves as well.

Communication

Dogs will lick other dogs to tell them all sorts of things. It could be “I’m hungry” or “I submit to you” as well as “Let’s be friends.” Your dog will do this with you and other people as well, but since humans just aren’t that good at “speaking dog”, we often miss the message. 

Attention seeking

Your dog craves attention from you and will do all kinds of things to get it. It’s really not any different than how kids (and even adults) will act up to get attention from people. A kid might not lick your face to get attention (or maybe they will) but your dog certainly will.

Compulsion

We know that dogs have feelings and emotions similar to humans do, from love to fear and even anxiety. Dogs can exhibit obsessive-compulsive behavior and also suffer from anxiety. Licking can provide stress relief, but obsessive licking won’t cure anxiety and if this is the case, you need to try and treat the root cause.

Medical issue

Dogs who frequently lick their feet may be trying to soothe a persistent itch caused by allergies. Dogs who lick their anal area frequently could be suffering from allergies or may need their anal glands expressed. Consult your veterinarian if you have concerns. 

To show submission

Dogs are pack animals with many related social behaviors. Licking is often a submissive gesture to the dominant pack leader. Your dog may be showing obedience and respect to you and other humans they love.

Humans taste good

You’ve seen your dog lick their bowl, the floor or a surface where food was or a spill happened. Dogs can taste very tiny food particles and it’s possible they could lick you because they taste yummy little bits of food. Sometimes they also enjoy the salt on our skin.

They are rewarded for it

You might be rewarding your dog’s behavior when they lick you. They get attention, they may get a good scratch or rub, maybe even a treat. That’s all positive reinforcement for their licking. As we mentioned before, they may also get some pleasant endorphins from licking, so that is a reward as well.

Most of the time, your dog licking you is very normal behavior. Unless you’re seeing some sort of obsessive behavior, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. 

The Pet’s Home provides in-home pet sitting services, as well as pet sitting, dog sitting, cat sitting, puppy training and pet taxi services in the Plainfield, Oswego, Naperville and Shorewood area. 

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841

Foods That Are Dangerous For Dogs

Foods that are bad for dogs

Many dog owners are known to sneak their best friend some scraps from the dinner table when no one is looking. 

Those cute faces just seem to say “PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PRETTY PLEASE!” and it can be hard to resist.

Some human food can be okay for your dog in small amounts, but others can be dangerous.

In this post, we list human foods that can be unhealthy, dangerous or even toxic to your dog. Read further so you don’t accidentally make your dog sick.

14 Foods Dangerous to Your Dog

Here are some of the worst foods for your dog. They can be very dangerous to their health and have been known to even be fatal to some dogs.

Avocado – The inner avocado is safe for dogs and can even be found in some dog foods. The problem is the skin and leaves. They contain persin, which is an oil-soluble toxin that can be dangerous to non-human mammals. According to the ASPCA, persin may cause “respiratory distress, heart failure, edema”.

Chocolate – Most dog owners know not to give their dog chocolate but it is worth repeating: Chocolate can be toxic to dogs. It contains Theobromine, which can cause a dog to vomit, have diarrhea, become overly thirsty, or even cause abnormal heart rhythms, seizures, tremors, or death. 

Related: Chocolate Overdose: What to do if they find your secret spot 

Macadamia Nuts – Macadamia nuts can make dogs very ill, causing vomiting, tremors, loss of control of body movements (ataxia), weakness, and depression. Symptoms usually show within 12 hours of eating and can last 12 to 48 hours before recovering.

Grapes and Raisins – Grapes are one of the most toxic foods for dogs. Eating grapes can lead to kidney failure and even death. Raisins and grape juice can be even more dangerous because they are in a more concentrated form.

Garlic and Onions – These plants are toxic to dogs in any form, whether fresh, cooked, dried, or powdered. Onions and garlic are part of the allium plant family, which can cause damage to dogs red blood cells and organs. Symptoms include weakness, vomiting, breathlessness, and loss of interest in food.

Sugar-Free Gum & Candy – Sugarless gum and candy is often sweetened with Xylitol, which can be deadly to dogs. According to the VCA, xylitol ingestion causes life-threatening hypoglycemia (dangerously low blood sugar).

Related: How to Clean Your Dog’s Teeth

Raw Meat, Fish, Eggs – Dog ancestors may have eaten raw meat, but your dog shouldn’t. Raw meat contains bacteria that can lead to food poisoning. Raw fish can hide parasites that cause fatal diseases. Raw eggs can contain salmonella or e. coli.

Alcohol – Alcoholic beverages can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.

Citrus Fruits – The stems, leaves, peels, fruit, and seeds of citrus plants (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit) contain citric acid and oils that can cause irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression if ingested in significant amounts.

Green Tomatoes – Ripe red tomatoes are okay, but unripened green tomatoes and tomato plants contain solanine, a toxin that can cause gastrointestinal distress, lethargy, weakness, and confusion.

Caffeinated Drinks – Caffeine is very unhealthy for dogs and possibly only fatal. This includes coffee and tea, coffee beans and grounds, cocoa, chocolate, colas, and energy drinks. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, restlessness, increased heart rate, fast breathing, and muscle twitches.”

Dairy Products – Many dogs are lactose intolerant and cannot properly digest dairy foods. Too much cheese can cause constipation or diarrhea, obesity, and lasting gastrointestinal issues. 

Yeast Dough – Bread dough needs to rise. If your dog eats it, then the dough will rise in their stomach, stretching the abdomen and causing pain. When the yeast ferments the dough to make it rise, it makes alcohol that can lead to alcohol poisoning.

Salty Snacks – Salty snacks like pretzels and potato chips can make your dog seriously thirsty. It could lead to sodium ion poisoning, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, high temperature, and seizures and possibly even cause death.

The following is a list of foods that are dangerous to dogs. Even though some foods on this list may be okay in small amounts, we do not recommend feeding your dog these foods.

List of foods you should not feed your dog

  • Alchohol
  • Almonds
  • Avocado
  • Apricot pits
  • Bacon
  • Beer
  • Bones
  • Cheese
  • Cherry pits
  • Chives
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus (peels, leaves, seeds)
  • Coffee
  • Dairy
  • Energy drinks
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Peach pits
  • Pecans
  • Plumb pits
  • Popcorn
  • Potatoes (Raw)
  • Potato chips
  • Pretzels
  • Raisins
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Raw meet, fish & eggs
  • Salt
  • Sugar-free gum & candy
  • Tea
  • Tomatoes (green, plants & leaves)
  • Walnuts
  • Wine
  • Yeast dough

To be safe, we don’t recommend you feed your dog any of these foods. If your dog has ingested any of these foods, contact your veterinarian. 


Related Information & Sources: ASPCACanine Journal – DogtimeHumane Society – RoverWebMD


 

Common Dog Parasites

Prevent parasites in dogs

In this post, we list the five most common parasites that infect dogs and how you can protect your dog from worms, ticks, and others. 

Unfortunately for your dog, there are several common parasites that can infect your best friend. All dogs can become infected, and sometimes these parasites can even be transmitted to humans.Any dog can get parasites, and some can be transmitted to humans. 

Any dog can contract parasites, and some of these can be transmitted to humans. There are treatments available for all these, but preventing your dog from becoming infected in the first place is always the best option. 

Most Common Dog Parasites

  • Fleas
  • Ticks
  • Heartworms
  • Intestinal Worms
  • Mites

flea parasite in dogsFleas

Fleas are tiny, hard-bodied, flightless insects that are external parasites of mammals and birds. Their source of food is consuming the blood of the host they have attached to. It has strong legs which allow it to jump up to a foot or more.

Flea infestations can be a hassle to deal with for both you and your dog. They can also cause a variety of problems including Flea Allergic Dermatitis, anemia, and tapeworm infection.

Prevention is your best option. You can use a variety of oral flea treatments, topical treatments, shampoos, washes, sprays, and flea collars to protect your dog from fleas. These should especially be used during the warm summer months here in northern Illinois.

tick parasite in dogsTicks

Ticks are tiny arachnids and relatives of both mites and spiders. Like fleas, they live on the blood of birds and mammals, including dogs and cats.

Ticks will jump onto your dog (or you!) and attach its jaw into the skin and suck blood until the tick has eaten all it possibly can. They can carry many diseases, including Lyme Disease.

Ticks will usually live in tall grasses and wooded areas. You can use products to prevent ticks from attaching to your dog, but during summer months you should check your dog regularly for ticks, especially after spending time in wooded or tall grassy areas.

Related Post: Ticks and Dogs

Heartworms

The dog heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that can spread to your dog through the bite of a mosquito.

It is one of the most dangerous parasites that can infect your dog. It can even lead to death if untreated. Even the treatments to rid your dog of heartworms is bad for your dog’s health.

To prevent heartworms, it is best to give your dog a monthly heartworm prevention. If you have not given your dog a heartworm preventer in months, you should have your dog tested by your veterinarian.

Related Post: Protect Your Dog from Mosquitos

Intestinal Worms

Intestinal worms that your dog can pick up from the outdoors include roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms.

Tapeworms can be contracted from fleas; the rest can infect your dog from contaminated soil or infected animals, such as mice or other animals. Some of these can also be transferred to humans.

Protecting your dog from fleas will help protect him or her from tapeworms. Regular veterinary checkups are the best way from preventing serious intestinal worm problems.

parasite mites in dogs Mites

There are two types of mites that can affect dogs: Demodex and Sarcoptic (also known as scabies). Mites can live in small numbers on your dog without causing problems. Higher numbers can cause itching, hair loss, and scabs.

Scabies is highly contagious to other dogs and also to humans. It is most often spread through direct contact with other infected dogs or mammals. It can be difficult to prevent because you won’t know when you come in contact with an infected animal.

Treatment can require both oral medication and medicated baths. If you believe your dog may be infected because your dog is showing intense scratching, then you should visit your veterinarian right away.

The Pet’s Home provides in-home pet sitting services, as well as pet sitting, dog sitting, cat sitting, puppy training and pet taxi services in the Plainfield, Oswego, Naperville and Shorewood area. 

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841

How much should my cat sleep?

Cats are true masters when it comes to sleeping. They can sleep anytime, any place, under any circumstance. But why do cats sleep so much? Do they have sleep cycles like people do? Read on to find out more about cats and sleep.

Catnap

You may be wondering why your cat sleeps most of the time, don’t worry, cats actually require a lot more sleep than you and I. Cats are crepuscular creatures, crepuscular is just a fancy term that means they’re most active at dawn and dusk. Their vision is best adapted to the light levels at those times in the day so that is when they like to play, socialize, and hunt.

Younger cats and kittens require around 20 hours of sleep a day while adult cats will only need around 13~16 hours a day. Of course your cat may need more or less sleep than others just like the rest of us require different amounts of sleep.

Cats don’t really sleep eight-hour sessions like us, they will cycle in and out of naps throughout the day. While they are sleeping their senses remain finely tuned. They can jump out of bed at a moments notice to be alert. Just as quickly as they awoke they can fall back asleep.

Habits

Cats are predators and they are hardwired to chase and hunt small creatures, mainly at night. Although cats are domesticated, for the most part, housecats are still in touch with their wild side. Even when cats play they still show these instincts of creeping about and pouncing on their prey. Hunting takes quite a bit of energy and all that sleep is used to reserve that energy for hunting, running, climbing, and stalking.

Related: Is your cat board?

Sleeping Problems

Excessive sleep in kittens is rarely a concern but if your adult cat is sleeping more it may indicate a medical concern. Many feline diseases don’t begin to develop until adulthood. Any single illness can cause your cat to spend more time asleep. Excessive sleep in an adult cat could also mean they are in pain, such as arthritis.

If your cat seems to have endless energy and is sleeping less it may be a sign of medical problem such as hyperthyroidism. Other signs of hyperthyroidism may include weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, increased appetite and thirst.

If your kitten seems lethargic or uninterested in her surroundings they may be sick and should be taken to the vet. Sudden changes in behavior, including sleep, can mean there is a problem.

Dog Flu Outbreak in Illinois

About the Illinois Dog Flu Outbreak 

There have been recent cases of Dog Flu breaking out all over central Illinois. Be cautious with your dog around other dogs.  Veterinarians say this is a new and highly contagious airborne virus that can spread quickly from dog to dog.

This virus can be transferred via nose and mouth secretions, coughs, and even sharing water bowls. Because this particular virus is airborne, it can spread without contact.

Most dogs are not naturally immune to the virus and when exposed to it will most likely contract it. 

How to Protect Your Dog 

The first thing you should do is talk to your veterinarian about canine influenza to see what they recommend is best for your dog. 

If you notice anything out of the ordinary isolate your dog and call your veterinarian as soon as possible. Do not wait or hesitate as this is a very aggressive virus and your should seek medical treatment immediately.  

A vaccine is available, if you have not already, the H3N2 vaccination is available for your dog. Discuss whether the vaccine is right for your dog with your veterinarian. 

Start boosting your dog’s immune system by feeding them a healthy and balanced diet.  Give them plenty of vitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids and probiotics. You can also use some of the many natural immunity boosting supplements and herbs to improve your dogs overall health and well-being.

Be sure to watch your dog for common symptoms such as: coughing, lethargy, lack of appetite, nasal or eye discharge. Give your dog lots of water and plenty of time to rest. 

If your dog does get the flu, keep them away from other dogs for at least 21 days.

Chocolate Overdose: What to do if they find your secret spot

Most of us have that secret spot of emergency chocolate, for those extra hard days.  Unfortunately, the chocolate stash can be very dangerous for our pets if they find it.

The question we end up asking ourselves is how much is too much chocolate, and what should I do if my dog eats chocolate?

How much is safe?

As long as you know how much was eaten and what sort of chocolate it is, it is relatively easy to work out if your pet is in danger. 

The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous, is the general rule. 

Dark, bitter baking chocolate contains more toxins than milk chocolate. Milk chocolate is not as toxic as dark chocolate, and white chocolate contains very little of theobromine, which is the concerning chemical found in chocolate. 

Other factors that may impact your pet include whether there were any other ingredients such as caffeine, sultanas, macadamias, and xylitol (also toxic to pets and used as an artificial sweetener).

Many pets are very sensitive to rich and fatty foods and will get a nasty bout of pancreatitis or gastroenteritis from overindulging. Also, pets that gobble the whole lot so quickly that they eat wrappers, foil and plastic are more susceptible to a foreign body problem as well.

What Does Chocolate Do to Dogs?

Chocolate contains theobromine which is a methylxanthine that stimulates the heart and nervous system while relaxing smooth muscle. The low-grade signs of poisoning often include vomiting, diarrhea, panting, restlessness, hyperactivity, and increased heart rate.

At higher doses, neurological signs such as tremors, seizures, coma, and death can occur. Often it takes a few hours to develop the dangerous symptoms and as theobromine has a long half-life it can take a few days for pets to improve even with treatment.

What Should I Do?

If you have a reason to suspect your pet has eaten chocolate, get them to the vet immediately.

If there is a chance that the chocolate is still in the stomach, including vomiting quickly is cheap, effective and safe. Usually, if the consumption was within an hour, inducing vomiting solves the problem. Insider tip: vets don’t mind making chocolate-eaters vomit – it smells so much nicer than the usual vomit!

 

Help Your Pet Avoid Heat Stress This Summer

Keep pets cool

Temperatures are already heating up around here, and were definitely finding it the perfect cure after these last few weeks of rain. But are your pets enjoying the heat? It’s very important for pet owners to be aware of the risk of heat stress in your pets.

Certain breeds are more prone to suffering from heat stress, like Bulldogs, Pugs and Persians, because of their long coats and short snouts. It’s important to implement measures to keep your pet cool on hot days, as heat stroke can be life threatening.

How to Avoid Heat Stress

Unlike humans, who are able to sweat to loose heat, dogs and cats cannot regulate their temperature in this way and rely mainly on panting and external cooling to lose heat from their bodies. This limits their ability to regulate their body temperature, which is why pet owners need to take action to minimize the risk of heat stress.

Some things you can do include:

  • Ensuring your pet has access to shade when outside, and the freedom to move into shaded areas;
  • Ensuring your pet has access to fresh drinking water inside and outside the house (ensure they are placed in a shady spot if outside and consider placing an extra bowl or two if you are leaving the house;
  • Avoiding excessive exercise/ avoiding exercise during the hot parts of the day/avoiding exercise entirely on very hot days;
  • Not leaving pets in the car, even with the windows open.

Signs of Heat Stress in your Pet

Being aware of signs of heatstroke may allow you to act quickly and prevent internal organ damage. These signs may include:

  • Excessive panting progressing to breathing distress;
  • Drooling, salivation
  • Very red or very pale gums;
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Restlessness, delirium, agitation, 
  • Seizures
  • Collapse/comatose

What to do if your suspect your pet has heat stress?

If your concerned that your pet it suffering from heat stress, remove your pet from the hot environment, wrap him or her in a wet towel or spray him or her with cool water onto the skin and fan to maximize heat loss and take home into your nearest veterinarian as soon as possible.

Protect your dog from Mosquitoes

It’s almost summer, but to us dog owners we know what season really is almost here: flea/tick/mosquito season. It’s that time of the year when you become wary of letting you dog walk through ominous-looking grass and uncut lawns. After all, mosquito bites carry deadly consequences and can transmit diseases like heart-worm and West Nile. But if encasing your dog in a protective, impenetrable bubble doesn’t work for you, here are some ways to keep your dog sage and bite-free all summer.

Whatever you do, DON’T use human insect repellent on your dog.Mosquito Protection-Dog

Human bug sprays are great for us, but they’re toxic for our furry friends. Deet, the main ingredient in most drugstore bug sprays, can cause vomiting, seizures, and skin irritation when exposed to dogs.

When applying bug spray, make sure your dog doesn’t lick your skin, if they do, contact your vet immediately.

Avoid leaving standing water around your home.

Mosquitoes, much like humans, need water to live. Restricting their access to water is the best way to keep adult mosquitoes from breeding and, thus, unleashing more mosquitoes into your home.
To prevent this, eliminate any standing water around your home. You might also want to empty your dog’s water bowl at night when you know they won’t be drinking it.

Don’t walk your dog at peak mosquito times.

Just like how us humans have rush hours, mosquitoes have their own time of the day when they’re the most active, and those times are at dawn and dusk. Avoid walking your dog during these hours and they’ll be less likely to be bitten.

Buy insect-repellent products made for dogs.

Fairly self-explanatory, but stick to products that are made for dogs. That way you know they’re safe to use. Most flea and tick products are formulated to repel mosquitoes as well.
K9 Advantix and Bio Spot are two examples of great triple action products that should keep your dog free of bites all summer long. You can also buy sprays and other insect repellents from your pet store.

Don’t ignore natural remedies.Mosquito Protection-Dog

If you’re not comfortable using chemicals on yourself, let alone your dog, there are lots of natural remedies for mosquito prevention that work just as well as the chemical ones. Lemon eucalyptus oil is an effective repellent that keeps mosquitoes at with its repugnant smell.

Geranium oil and soybean oil when mixed together can also be used as a repellent. Although you can find products with these ingredients in health food stores, you can also mix together these oils yourself and make your own D.I.Y bug spray.

Fix any broken window screens in your home.

Most mosquitoes get into the home through open windows or broken window screens. If you wake up with new bites on your arms, your windows might not be protecting you and your dog as much as you think.

Be wary of any holes or tears in screens that might be letting bugs in. And don’t forget to fill in the gap between the air conditioner and the window frame, too.

Internet Cat Video Festival Features Best Cat Videos

Internet Cat Video Festival

Do you love cat videos?

Of course you do!

Our research shows that 125% of internet users enjoy watching cat videos online. We were surprised the number was that low.

Since everyone loves cat videos then that means that everyone would be interested in the Internet Cat Video Festival. 

The Internet Cat Video Festival is described by its organizers as “the first offline celebration of online cat videos”.

The live event was held from 2013-2016 and gathered cat fans in a social environment to watch a curated collection of funny cat videos ranging from six-second videos to short films and everything in between.

Related: Cats and Cucumbers

The festival began as an event held at the Walker Art Center in St. Paul, Minnesota in 2013 but grew into a touring event in cities across the United States and even internationally to Ireland, Japan and Australia. 

After the 2016 festival, the Walker Art Center announced it was discontinuing the festival in order to pursue new projects.

The Walker donated its archive of related cat-themed ephemera to the Minnesota Historical Society and hopes others will be inspired to create copy-“cat” events of their own.

Related: 9 Weird Cat Behaviors Explained

The Internet Cat Video Festival did come to Chicago in 2013, 2014 and 2015, but if you weren’t able to attend, you can enjoy 60 Things I Learned At The 2013 Internet Cat Video Film Festival on Buzzfeed and watch a few selected Internet Cat Video Festival videos at Animal Planet.